FWP surveys anglers on preferences with Upper Missouri Reservoir plan

Posted at 8:27 PM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-05 22:28:13-05

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is reaching out to the public for information critical for an update to the Upper Missouri River Reservoir Fisheries Management Plan.

A public survey released this week will ask anglers a wide variety of questions about their uses and preferences for the reservoir system and the adjacent stretches of the Missouri River. The survey will be accompanied by a series of public meetings and open houses.

The Upper Missouri River Reservoir Fisheries Management Plan guides FWP’s management of Canyon Ferry, Hauser, and Holter Reservoirs, the Missouri River from Toston to Canyon Ferry, and the river below Hauser Dam. This will be the third revision of the plan. The previous two iterations were in place for 10 years each.

The current plan is in place through 2019. FWP held public meetings this past summer to collect input on management of these waterbodies.

This survey and next round of public meetings are an extension of that effort.

The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and can be found online at

(October 17, 2018) The Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) Commission unanimously voted down the proposed Upper Missouri Reservoir Fisheries Management Draft Plan on Wednesday, October 17.

The 10-year management draft plan would have set the fisheries management direction for in Canyon Ferry, Hauser, and Holter reservoirs and two associated stretches of the Missouri River above Canyon Ferry Reservoir and below Hauser Dam.

The proposed plan would not have established any regulations, but suggested strategies to achieve management goals.

Members of the public in attendance expressed concern over the language of the plan and lack of public input.

FWP established a seven-member citizen scoping committee earlier in 2018 to help develop the proposal.

Additionally, five open houses were held in the area in July for public input, but FWP reports they were poorly attended.

“It’s a red flag on how poorly attended those meetings were,” said Commissioner Logan Brower. “Without public participation, amendments will need more consideration.”

The commission, FWP representatives, and members of the public agreed public turnout for the scoping meetings was poor and needs to be improved in order to make a management plan that’s best for everyone.

“These management plans rely on public participation as we saw today,” said Fish Management Bureau Chief Eric Roberts. “It was pretty much universally recognized that there was not enough in the development of this plan and so that’s why we’re taking a step back to get that input.”

Roberts said the next step is to regroup and try to find a better way to reach fishermen before coming back to the commission with a revised plan.

Fishermen who attended the meeting said they’re happy with the decision from the commission and proud to live in a state where government values public input.

FWP would also like the public to know there will be an extensive review process in 2019 for all fishing regulations and strongly encourage public input.

“That is another process where we encourage public participation because that participation is what makes it work,” said Roberts.

For more information about any proposed changes or to contact FWP, click here.

-Reported by John Riley/MTN News